By Vagelis Papadimitriou/ email@example.com
From a very warm welcome to also contributing to the jersey retirement ceremony of Vassilis Spanoulis shaped a great evening for Kyle Hines on Sunday.
Hines, 37, in the aftermath of The Night of the Legend and the following prep game between EA7 Emporio Armani Milan and Olympiacos, talked to Eurohoops about the ceremony, his relationship with Spanoulis, and his stint with the Reds.
“It was an amazing atmosphere,” he described the moments leading to jersey no. 7 being set on the rafters of the Peace and Friendship Stadium, “It is always nice to return here, see the fans and meet the organization. It was an honor to be part of this.”
Hines additionally honored Spanoulis alongside general manager Christos Stavropoulos. They presented a plaque with a personalized dedication by Olimpia Milan.
“I was excited to learn I would be here this evening,” added Hines.
Playing alongside Spanoulis, he was part of the back-to-back Turkish Airlines EuroLeague championships won by the Reds in 2012 and 2013.
“He is a great person and player. It was obvious tonight, from everyone attending to celebrate his career and the messages from players all around the world. Everyone views him as a tremendous player. He is also a tremendous person for me. A friend that I call a brother,” said Hines on his former teammate.
Entering the court in SEF with his Milan teammates, the fans started chanting his name.
“Honestly, I did not expect the reaction,” he confessed, “I wanted to show respect and love to the fans. I will always love this place. It will always be a special place for me, because of the fans and their love. This team and this city are always in my heart.”
“The team never gave up,” he recalled the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons with Olympiacos, “The mindset and the culture, the players. Those were apparent when I was here. But it can be seen in the current team as well, building off the previous teams.”